For a few days now I've been contemplating my lack of updates.  Not long ago I decided to free myself from the stress of regular posting, because it makes the whole adventure seem too obligatory.  Granted, setting schedules does have benefits, it's just not something I'm interested in at the moment.  I must admit, I've been spending a lot of time watching the "chicken channel."  Not to mention the weather has been gorgeous lately.  There really is no better distraction.  In the mornings I water the garden and set up the pool for the boys.  In the afternoon we let the chickens free range and scour the backyard for bugs, while we enjoy some ice pops.  My favorite blue hammock soon becomes a place where imagination takes us on long lazy adventures to the clouds.  Later we light a fire to roast some marshmallows, and wind up laying next to each other watching dancing embers late into the night.  

    I plan on getting every ounce of outside enjoyment I can, because in a few weeks the temperatures will rise and sitting on my patio in a sweater enjoying a cool breeze, will be a thing of the past.  Today we were forced inside because of the rain, but in no way do I consider this a loss.  My rain barrel will be full tomorrow and my pantry will be stocked with shortbread cookies.  I finally got the chance to use the rest of my black walnuts and was granted a little reminder of last years fall fun.  It is amazing how certain smells can bring you right back to a particular time or place.  It's one of the reasons why preserving flavors from each season is so enjoyable.                       
    I guess baking has been on my brain lately.  We haven't installed our air conditioning units yet, and I'd like to try and keep it that way until June.  It really is nice that we only need the AC for two or three months of the year, and it makes getting a central system seem like a complete waste of money.  But I'm getting nervous about how much longer I'll have to use my stove.  Without central air the use of the stove or the laundry dryer becomes almost impossible.  It's time to get all the baking out of my system and get as much bread in the freezer as I can.  I guess it was stupid of me to start trying to catch some wild yeast.  And catch some I did!  Better late then never, I guess.
    Lazy? Yes, I think I would say we have been lazy of late.  Sometimes lazy could also be considered, quietly appreciating a momentary slowing down.  Summer is when the weekends fill of activities.  Fishing trips, foraging classes and basket making, among many other things.  With so much to look forward to, siting outside on our patio to watch the rain, might be just what I need.  Warm rainy days are supposed to be perfectly lazy and they are absolutely appreciated.     

Black Walnut Shortbread Cookies (Gluten-Free)

makes 4 dozen

2 cups gluten-free flour blend (recipe below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup toasted and chopped black walnuts (or finely chopped regular walnuts)
Extra sugar for topping
*Maple sugar glaze (powdered sugar mixed with grade B maple syrup)
Grey sea salt


In a bowl combine the gluten-free flour blend with baking powder, salt and ground nutmeg; set aside.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the softened unsalted butter with sugar until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and egg and continue to beat until combined.  With a spoon stir in the chopped walnuts and the flour mixture until you can form the dough into a ball.  Divide the dough into two pieces and shape into a disk.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Take the dough out one at a time and roll out on a floured surface (this is where the extra gluten-free flour blend is helpful).  Cut dough into shapes and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle some extra sugar on top of each cookie.  Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the edges get slightly browned.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.  Drizzle on some maple glaze and top with some flaked grey sea salt.  Store cookies in airtight container.     

*I don't have an exact recipe for the maple sugar glaze.  The best way to achieve a type of glaze like this one is to start with 1 cup of powdered sugar and slowly add the maple syrup until you get a consistency you like.  Don't make your glaze ahead of time because it will harden as time passes.  

Gluten-Free flour blend

1 1/4 cups sorghum flour
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons
xanthan gum

In a bowl whisk together all the ingredients.  You will have extra, so store it in an airtight container.



Ok...just one chicken picture!

 


Comments

05/16/2014 9:41pm

Okay, first, love the new header. Not sure how new it is, but it's the first time I'm noticing it, so it's new to me haha. LOVE IT! It sounds like you've really been enjoying life... that's so great to hear. It's easy to get sucked up into the stress of sticking to the 2-3 posts per week thing. I'm actually jealous of your calendar-free posting schedule :)

And I'm so enjoying all your chicken photos! Share as many as you want! They are adorable and I'm loving watching them grow!

Oh yea, and nice cookies ;)

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05/17/2014 8:21am

Chris, you are the posting king. If I even tried to keep up with you I would probably loose my mind. Maybe one day when my boys reach school age I'll be able to plan things out a little more.

Glad you like the chicken updates...oh there will be many many more :)

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05/17/2014 12:37am

What a very beautifully photographed and lovingly written article. The cookies sound fabulous, and I get you about freeing yourself from obligatory posting. I have recently taken to posting as the mood strikes me, as opposed to a set schedule. I so enjoy writing about food, I just saw no sense in turning it into a chore!

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05/17/2014 8:23am

That is exactly right, Adri. I definitely didn't want to turn this space into something I considered a chore either. This should be nothing but fun, right :)

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05/17/2014 11:31am

I don't know, I think sometimes we fix too tight to a schedule. What's that great saying by Lin Yutang... 'besides the noble art of getting things done there is the noble art of leaving things undone" and plenty gets done in those unscheduled spaces. I too feel that mysterious pressure -- whenever I let a week slip away without posting something new. Then, I give my head a shake, take a deep breath and feel a great relief in the freedom of letting it go. Also, sometimes I'm just not in the mood and I don't see the point in forcing it. Enjoy all the moments Sandra -- seeing your boys at the window yesterday pretty much says it all; there's so much *more* -- including your girls! That last photo is sublime. Your salted maple glazed shortbread cookies have me salivating... my only wish is that we could sit down together, kick off our shoes in the sunshine with a cup of mint tea and enjoy these biscuits while life unfolds moment to moment :).

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05/17/2014 5:59pm

What a great saying! The art of leaving things undone...I love it :)

I would love to sit down with you with some tea as biscuits and talk until the sun sets. One day we will...one day :)

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The cookies look fantastic -- and thanks for including the SIMPLE recipe for your GF flour blend. Super handy! And don't let this blogging gig stress you out: do it on your own terms and you'll continue to enjoy it.

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05/20/2014 4:29pm

Thanks Jules! I think I've definitely learned to look at my blog as something I do for fun. No one needs unnecessary stress, right!

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05/19/2014 1:01pm

I totally hear you when it comes to ditching the schedule. Nothing bugs me more when writers choose quantity over quality, you know what I'm saying? I don't think any of us started blogging with the expectation of it becoming stressful... and then when you experience it for yourself, it's not fun anymore. I appreciate the fact that you can put your feelings into print because many of us feel the same way. You go girl with these gorgeous walnut shortbread cookies and kiddie pool!!! Currently we are playing in giant dirt mounds... xoxo

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05/20/2014 4:32pm

Bet the boys are loving those giant dirt mounds, even if you aren't ;) Hope all is going well with the new move :)

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Awaited the next post, because here we are very interested in your news

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